You know those people who can wake up at the crack of dawn without an ounce of coffee and still be annoyingly energetic and chipper? Yeah. I'm one of those people. I'm the girl who pokes her husband awake way too early when he wants to sleep in. Something about the morning sunshine just makes me happy. And there's nothing quite like watching the sky go from gray to pink to blue. When I watch a sunrise, I get a hopeful little flutter in my heart. To me, a sunrise means another day full of possibilities, exciting chance encounters with new people, surprising discoveries, and new ways of having fun. Sunrises are holy in my eyes. Christmas is a sunrise to me. It's a time when we come together with those we love the most and celebrate the gift of Jesus. We're reminded of how our Savior came to "...ransom captive Israel." There's really no better message of hope than this, is there? And not only did He "once upon a time" come to us, but He still brings us this message of hope today. His Spirit still walks beside us. So, again, Christmas is a sunrise. It signals a new year full of new possibilities. It means new chances for Jesus to burst into our lives and amaze us. Now, I must also admit that I can sometimes look back on a year and see the blunders and bruises. I see the goals I didn't start on yet or the job I lost. I see the friend I drifted away from or the vices I've yet to conquer. But then I remember the hope that Jesus really represents.
Lamentations 3:21-23 "Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning."
So, after the wrapping paper is cleaned up, after the kids have run off to play with new gifts, and after you breath a sigh of relief that you survived your wild family another year, start to dream a bit. Embrace a new year with arms wide open and a heart full of hope. Don't let anything that's happened this past year hold you back from what could be. Whether it's fear, grudges, pessimism, or some other form of self-sabotage, don't let it steer you. God is with You! And Emmanuel came for you to have hope. Live in this and get excited! You never know what's around the corner.
"A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
God, thank You for the gift of Jesus. Thank you for the gift of hope You give us in Him. Holy Spirit, help us to embrace a new year in anticipation for Your work in our lives. Let us not linger on things past, but look joyfully at what is to come. We thank you for Your faithfulness. Amen.